2 pitchers of water to quench the thirst of 200 children

Most of the government primary schools in Khulna’s coastal upazila of Koira do not have deep tube wells or fresh water storage facilities. Due to this, there is an acute shortage of drinking water for school children. There are schools where only two pitchers of water are available to quench the thirst of around 200 students. It should be mixed with alum in pond water and drunk.

According to the sources of the Directorate of Primary Education, the total number of government primary schools in the upazila is 142. Of these, 41 do not have deep tube wells. 13 tubewells have been idle for a long time. And 40 have tube wells but salinity is high. In 35 schools rainwater is stored in small capacity tanks but the demand is not met. 22 thousand students study in these schools.

According to the Upazila Department of Public Health and Engineering, the tolerable level of salt in coastal areas is 1,000 milligrams per liter. However, the existence of salt up to six-seven thousand milligrams per liter was found in the tube well water of some primary schools in Coira.

Koira Madinabad Koli Government Primary School Headmaster Nurul Amin said that despite having a tubewell in his school, the water gets salty. Later he arranged to collect water from a distant tubewell by filling a pitcher.

Recently, it was seen on the ground that the tube wells of 13 schools including Hodda Government Primary School, Dakshin Bhagba Government Primary School, Gobra Government Primary School were broken. The tubewell water of 40 schools including Jaigir Mahal, North Kashfna, Baniakhali Government Primary School is absolutely salty.

25 schools of Amadi and Maheshwaripur Union have to buy and use water. Apart from this, some schools store rainwater in water tanks under their own management, but they have water supply for the next month at the end of the rainy season. Rest of the time pond water is purified with alum and drinking water is arranged for children. Some schools have tube well platforms but no tube wells.

Chochimonnecha, head teacher of Chak Shishu Mela Government Primary School in South Channi of Koira, said that during the school day, two pitchers of water are brought from a pond about half a kilometer away, purified with alum and fed to the children. Two jugs of water is too little for the school’s 193 children. A new tube well needs to be installed to solve the problem of fresh water.

Headmaster of Hodda Government Primary School Sukhar Barman said that five years ago, the deep tubewell of their school got damaged. There are no deep tube wells around. Water is a lot of trouble.

Arifur Islam, a student of Gobra Government Primary School, says, “When I feel thirsty, I go to the neighboring house to drink water.” But many a times they scold. Sometimes I bring water from home. When it’s over, I don’t eat.’

Upazila education officer. Habibur Rahman said, “The deep tube wells of most schools are damaged. In many places there is none at all. Students bring bottled water from home. We have contacted the upazila public health engineering department in this regard. Hopefully, the problem will be solved soon.

Ishtiaq Ahmed, Deputy Assistant Engineer of Directorate of Public Health Engineering, Coira, said that tanks have been installed on the roofs of 15 schools in Coira to store rainwater.

School children are benefiting from it to some extent. Apart from this, it is possible to provide water through wash blocks in schools which have multi-storied buildings. If allocated, it will be possible to eliminate the water crisis by installing tube wells and water tanks in all schools.